Shrinking U.S. Trade Gap, China Growth Bode Well for Global Economy



Harriett Torry | Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—A narrower U.S. trade deficit in February and stronger-than-expected economic growth in China suggested the global economy’s outlook may be brightening headed into the spring.

The U.S. deficit on trade in goods and services narrowed 3.4% in February from the prior month, thanks in large part to a pickup in exports, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Analysts said the smaller deficit suggests U.S. economic growth in the first quarter might have been stronger than previously estimated.

Meantime, with Chinese efforts to spur economic growth and a U.S.-China trade deal in sight, China’s economic growth held to a better-than-expected 6.4% rate in the first three months of the year.

Taken together, the data were reassuring signs that the world’s two largest economies started 2019 on a sounder footing after a rough patch late last year. The caveat, economists said, is that major economies in Europe appear to be continuing to lose momentum.

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